The combination of the amazing author skills of Daniel James Brown--along with the outstanding narrating ability of Edward Hermann--blew me away!
These nine athletes pull together in a quiet determination in preparation for the greatest achievement of their lives. They didn't have the money of some of the other teams, or the best clothing or living arrangements--what they had was some of the most remarkable resolve to maintain their goals and support for the team --each and every one of them. Not to be left out is the shell builder, George Pocock, who had as much influence on the boys as anyone. His dedication to making the perfect shell is quite a story in itself--I found out much more about this sport than I thought I would.
Listening to the winning race was breathtaking. I knew how the race ends- we all do - but I wasn't able to keep from being nervous and cheering the American team on as though I was in the stands. That is what this narrator does--just like in Unbroken, he pulls you in.
Everything came together at that time in history--the right team, the right coach, an amazing shell builder, and their combined efforts to achieve a once in a lifetime moment.
A must listen!
I found the propaganda efforts in Germany one of the most disgusting parts of the story--the fake front they were able to put up for the world during that time was nauseating -as well as Hitler's efforts to unfairly give advantages to the German team over the other's --this was a very small portion of the story, yet had to be included. It makes this story even more amazing.
Excellent writing, excellent performance, great story. You won't be disappointed with this one. I've been an audible subscriber for years and have never given five stars. This one is truly best in class.
Words cannot express how much I enjoyed this book - the tale of 9 ordinary men who learned something special about pulling together, even in their weak points, and fulfilling a dream that is only a fantasy for billions of people around the globe. Using Joe as a character study, the author paints a picture of a man who came from humble beginnings and tragic abandonment. He would probably be the first to tell you that he was a nobody, really, and yet he, along with eight other men, fumbled and stumbled and clawed their way to the Olympic Games in Nazi Germany in 1936.
This book incorporates many facets, and it doesn't matter if you know or care anything about rowing (I had no knowledge of the sport, and felt like I had been taught a lot without feeling stupid). It will appeal to anyone who has even passing interests in character-development, teamwork, sport, Nazi German history, inspirational tales, or any number of genres. Edward herrman's narration is superb, with the exception of some of the Washington State towns, but this does not take anything away from the performance itself.
BRAVO! Well worth the credit!
I would recommend this and in fact, bought two copies for friends/family.
True story of character and grit triumphing. Especially like the challenge faced by Joe, the protagonist, as he struggles to be a self-made man while being a true (and trusting) member of a team. Given his history of abandonment, this is no easy task.
Herrmann's read feels like he's there with me telling me the story. I can't imagine either "The Boys in the Boat" or "Unbroken" being read by anyone else.
I've never done this before, but as soon as I was done with this book I went back and started listening to it all over again. It's really that good.
I'm a writer of everything from children's picture books to fiction to memoir. I usually listen to nonfiction, mostly history, on Audible simply because I prefer to read novels on the page. The only exception to that rule is short stories and I'm partial to the Selected Shorts Anthologies.
This story of the crew team who won the gold medal at the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany is moving and engaging. The author brings together the individual stories of the team members while at the same time giving us a clear picture of Berlin in the months leading up to the Olympics. Hitler, Leni Riefenstahl on one side and the heroic dour Dane rowing coach, Al Ulbrickson, and George Pocock, the perfectionist builder of the red cedar boats, on the other. You root for the good guys who learned that depending on each other was the surest way to win. Excellent narration by Edward Herrmann.
Courage, responsibiltiy, and something larger than yourself
I'm from the Seattle area, and it was great to recognize places and events, but it could have taken place anywhere and it was still a great story. The idea of the Greatest Generation and what they had to overcome just to survive - and then you have this group of boys that surpass that with quite courage and will. Loved the interweaving of the story in Seattle with what was going on in Germany.
I always love to listsen to Edward Hermann - and this was one of his best perfomances.
This was truly a great story. It was not as exciting as Unbroken was just as well written and enjoyable. The narration enhanced the story and put you right into the story and the emotions of the characters. This is a book I would strongly recommend and listen to again.
If you want to know why I loved this book read Jay Parini's review in The Guardian from July of 2013. He explains it better than I ever could.
The Boys in the Boat was very nearly perfectly narrated by Edward Herrman, who for me has become THE voice of great historical nonfiction, bios and memoirs.
This book entertained us for many hours on out recent vacation to the Pacific Northwest. I couldn't have picked a better book to listen to, as we headed on our way to Washington state from California. How fun to realize that the book we were listening to was centered around one of our destination areas. This was not preplanned but happened purely by serendipity.
The story captured our attention immediately. It was even more relevant to us as our son had rowed on a local California university crew team (not Berkeley). The book was exceptionally well-researched and got up close and personal, as well as telling the team story of an Olympic win which occurred against all odds.
And what a time in world history for it to have occurred! I have read many holocaust books in the recent past, but the part of this book, the description of Germany as Hitler was coming to rise and beginning to execute his pure evil, made me squirm in my seat. I was always glad when these parts were over. This was not a negative for me, just my own personal reaction.
This is a wonderful, uplifting, true story which should appeal to a wide variety of listeners. It was perfectly narrated which added greatly to make it an awesome listening experience.